News • 03 Jan 2020

Guide to Queensland’s top accessible beaches

Having a disability can make it difficult to access the beach. Whether you’re frail, unsteady, or using a wheelchair, soft sand can present a challenge. Read our guide below to learn about some of Queensland’s top accessible beaches that to allow you to get out and about and enjoy the summer, with or without a disability.

It’s no secret that Queensland has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with soft white sand and tropical blue water.

Whitehaven Beach, in the Whitsundays, was hailed the second best beach in the world by travel platform, Flight Network.

If you’re a Queenslander, it’s often in your blood to love the sand, sun and sea. 

And if you’re not from Queensland, often it’s the beautiful beaches that drew you to live in the Sunshine State.

However, soft sand can make accessing the beach a challenge for those with a physical disability.

That’s why we’ve compiled our guide of Queensland’s top accessible beaches for you to visit this summer.

Many of the beaches below have disabled changing rooms and parking, as well as other features that make them an ideal destination for beach lovers.

Beaches can be made accessible by including access mats: long, sturdy mats that are securely pegged into the sand and provide easy access to the water’s edge. 

Some matting is installed as a permanent fixture and some is temporarily rolled out at specified times of the day.

The mats create a smooth surface for people that are mobility impaired, having difficulty walking, or have a pram. 

Additionally, beach wheelchairs have been designed to be used outdoors, specifically on soft sand and in or near salt water.

Some of the below beaches also provide access to a mobile hoist, providing even more options to enable those with disabilities to get to the beach.

Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise

Head to this iconic Gold Coast location for beach wheelchairs, an accessible beach access mat, and a mobile hoist.

Disabled change rooms and car parking is also available around the Surfers Paradise Surf Living Saving Club.

For more information, including bookings for the beach wheelchairs, visit the Surfers Paradise SLSC website, phone 07 5531 5966 or email [email protected].

Burleigh Heads

Beach matting and two types of beach wheelchairs are available at Burleigh beach: the Hippocampe and the Mobi beach wheelchair.

For more information, including bookings, visit the Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park SLSC website, phone 07 5535 2419 or email [email protected].

Contact the club to check if beach wheelchairs are available during the non-patrol season.

Nobby’s Beach

Beach matting and a WaterWheels beach wheelchair are available at Nobby beach.

Contact the club to check if beach wheelchairs are available during the non-patrol season.

For more information, including bookings, visit the Nobby’s Beach Surf Life Saving Club website, phone 07 5526 1117 or email [email protected].

City-wide beach wheelchair loan

Gold Coast Recreation and Sport Inc. has Hippocampe and Sandcruiser beach wheelchairs available free of charge, for use anywhere in the city. Chairs can be booked for several days at a time. Collection is from the organisation’s premises in Southport.

For more information or to book, visit the Gold Coast Recreation and Sport website, or phone 07 5531 3312 from Monday to Friday, between 8am and 4pm.

GiveAbility has two Hippocampe beach wheelchairs available for free community use. Back and seat supports are also available for use with these chairs.

For more information or to book, please visit the GiveAbility website, email [email protected] or phone 0438 701 201.

Sunshine Coast

Alexandra Headland Beach

Alexandra Headland beach was the first Sunshine Coast beach to offer accessible beach matting back in 2017, and it also has disabled bathrooms.

The matting is rolled out by volunteer lifesavers during weekends and public holidays from the start of September to the end of April.

Mooloolaba Beach

Mooloolaba Beach was voted the number sixth best beach in Australia by Tripadvisor.

It’s a curving, north-east to north facing beach lying in the sheltered side of Point Cartwright.

Even better is that accessible matting and Beach wheelchairs are now available during patrolled hours on weekends from September through to May.

Kings Beach

King’s Beach has disabled access via matting and Beach wheelchairs, it also has a children’s wading area, making it the perfect family destination.

Coolum Beach

Coolum Beach is renowned for having more of a laid back, holiday atmosphere, making it stand out from other surrounding beaches.

Accessible matting and Beach wheelchairs are now available at Coolum Beach during patrolled hours on weekends from September through to May.


The Strand

This thriving seaside foreshore in Townsville is located in the suburb of North Ward.

With beach access matts available on Fridays 10:30am to Saturday 3:00pm and at special events, accessing the beach unassisted is now an option.

Hervey Bay

Hervey Bay Beach 

Hervey Bay, located on the Central Queensland Coast, is widely known as a site for observing humpback whales. 

Hervey Bay Beach offers accessible beach matting and a floating beach wheelchair.


Palm Cove

Palm Cove, in North Queensland, has won many awards as Australia’s Cleanest Beach over the years.

You can now access a beach wheelchair at Palm Cove Beach to take in the tropical idyllic scenery.

The wheelchair is kept in a storage hut at the back of the Palm Cove Surf Life Saving Club on Williams Esplanade. An accessible roll out matting allows the wheelchair to access to the beach and hard sand along the waterfront.

To reserve the beach wheelchair, call Palm Cove Surf Club a few days in advance on (07) 4059 1244 or Surf Life Saving North Queensland (07) 4049 1200 between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.

Port Douglas Four Mile Beach

Four Mile Beach is one of the best known and most popular beaches of northern Australia, with golden sand stretching into the distance.

You can take a ride along the Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas by booking the beach wheelchair.

To book the wheelchair, contact: (07) 4099 4366.

Let us know your favourite accessible beach in Queensland! Contact us and we’ll add it to the list.

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